Buttkicker Gamer 2
There’s only so much that you can feel through the steering wheel when sim racing, regardless of how good or bad your steering wheel base is. Today I’m going to be reviewing the Buttkicker Gamer 2, which I’ve had for over a year now. The Buttkicker is a rumble motor which reacts to your game and immerses you deeper into your gaming or simulation experience. It allows you to feel bumps, explosions, collisions, and anything else that your game throws at you.
I use every time I sit into my sim rig and needless to say, I love mine, but it’s worth noting that I loved Buttkicker long before I ever started my YouTube channel. And I paid full retail price on it too! Now, due to the success of this channel, and my subscriber loyalty, Buttkicker has been kind enough to sponsor me a complete Buttkicker Gamer 2 system, shipped anywhere in the world, for one of my subscribers!
On the left, you’ll see all the categories in this video. I’ve put all the timestamps at the top of the description below, so that you can jump directly to the sections that you want to know more about. While you’re down there, I’d appreciate if you hit the thumbs up, and also the subscribe button. If you really like these videos, ensure that you hit the little bell icon so that you never miss one. I’m Laurence and here’s my in depth review of the Buttkicker Gamer 2.
Why I bought one
Real driving is all about feeling the car through the ‘seat of your pants’. I had heard about vibration motors, or ‘tactile transducers’ as they’re called. I could never justify the cost as i simply thought that it couldn’t possibly add the level of immersion that some people claim. However, when I found myself struggling in a championship I was racing in, where we were driving quite a lively car and my G27 simply couldn’t keep up with the rear end grip. I bit the bullet and bought a Buttkicker gamer 2 setup, as I had heard that you could send only the feedback you care about, to the Buttkicker, and you could ignore the rest. I’m going to be showing you how I used my setup to feel only the rear tyre traction loss through my Buttkicker, and how it not only added immersion, but actually made me a better driver.
Now it’s worth noting that filtering out only the feedback that you want is a particular luxury is available only to PC gamers, using software like Simhub or Simvibe, which I’ll cover in a minute. However, all is not lost for those of you who are not on PC. In fact, I’d still highly recommend to go and buy a Buttkicker. Buttkicker works using any analog audio port. In its simplest form, it grabs the low frequency sounds and translates them into vibration or rumble effects. So that means that you can simply attach it to your existing analog audio port on your playstation, xbox, tv or even your phone, and you can “feel the game” properly. This is not exclusively for sim racing either. Imagine playing Counterstrike, Battlefield, Call of Duty or even Fortnite and feeling the recoil vibrations off the weapons, and feeling the explosions shaking the ground around you. You can even use it for movies or music, the possibilities are endless. In fact, I can’t think of any non-simulation titles where the regular game audio output wouldn’t suffice.
Please note that some consoles, like the PS4 or XBOX1 may not have analogue sound outputs, depending on their configuration, but rather digital sound output. The Gamer 2 is only compatible with analogue sound inputs, but you can grab an adapter for about 15 euro which will sort out that issue for you. I’ve added a link to that product for you in the description below. (Link to that product)
In the box, you get a 90 watt amplifier, a wired remote control and the transducer itself which is attached to a very handy integrated mounting bracket. You’ll get all the cables and adapters that you could possibly need, whether you use inline headphones or even a sound mixer.
The amplifier features buttons on the front which allow you to tune your device to your particular needs. There are indicators to highlight when clipping occurs.
There’s a very handy remote control unit which you can keep nearby, whilst hiding the amp out of sight. This remote allows you turn the amp on or off and adjust the overall strength of your Buttkicker. All the buttons on the remote feature handy little indentations which make it extremely easy to use while not looking at it, or even whilst in VR.
The Buttkicker itself looks the business, with diamond cut styling which sits perfectly at home in my sim racing rig. The mounting bracket will fit any round or square bar or mount up to 3.5cm in diameter. That’s about 1.4inches.
There’s plenty of length in the cables too, with the main cable from your amp to your Buttkicker stretching over 4 meters long! That’s 13.5 ft in old money. The inline remote has a 1.5 meter cable, or 5 ft in length. They even throw in a few y-shaped adapters, various audio cables and some velcro to keep it all tidy.
Because the Buttkicker uses an analog audio signal to translate into rumbling, it can be plugged into any analog audio port and operated without any additional software. However, if like me, you want to get the most out of your Buttkicker, you’ll need to use something like Simhub, which is free, or Simxperience Simvibe which is 89 USD. Simxperience of course, makes the Accuforce Direct Drive wheel, as well as motion simulators and all sorts of other amazing immersive products. I personally use Simhub, as it’s free. I’ve never found limitations that have made me want to spend 89 dollars on the Simvibe offering. Just bear in mind that if you want to use such software to fine tune the feedback from your Buttkicker, you’ll need a dedicated sound output device for this. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t need to be high end hardware, and a usb sound card can be bought for as little as 5 euro on Amazon. I’ve linked to one in the description below. I use the front audio ports on my PC tower as they’re seen as a separate sound device.
How does it feel?
In short, it feels great. exponentially better than not having one. But it’s difficult to put into words what a Buttkicker brings to the table. It’s like describing a smell or a feeling. You kind of need to experience it to understand what the hype is about.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the Buttkicker gamer 2 isn’t going to rattle your bones or shake the ground. It’s just a low powered rumble motor, so don’t expect too much of it. However, a well set up Buttkicker can give you many the sensations that you’re missing from your gaming experience. I absolutely love mine and have been using it every time i game, since last year when i bought it.
I use mine to feel traction loss, gear changes, sharp bumps, rumble strips, abs and traction control when sim racing. The level of feedback could be stronger, and i’ve never experimented with a stronger amplifier, nor have I even run the unit very high as I noticed quite a lot of clipping during my early tests. Clipping is where there are so many signals being sent, that the motor is basically operating at 100% and you get no distinction or clarity variations anymore. I soon found out that less is more with this device. those of you who are looking for stronger vibrations, might look into getting multiple units, or stronger offerings.
But if you want a great solution that’s easy to mount, even to a desk chair, then the gamer 2 is probably the one for you. Which leads us nicely into the next section:
You can build tactile transducer systems quite cheaply in general, but most of us don’t want the hassle, and we want something that looks good too. The most accessible complete package I could find was the Buttkicker Gamer 2, and the cheapest I could find one was around £230, which is about 270euro or $300 USD. Now, folks in the USA or Australia are probably scratching your heads and about to write a comment below to tell me how wrong I am about that price, but hear me out. In Europe, we get 240volts through our sockets, and the 240volt version just costs a lot more than the 120v version that you get in the USA. In the USA, you can buy a 120v Buttkicker for only $170. That’s only 150euro, or 130 GBP. So not only half the voltage, but also half the price. I’m not sure whether voltage is the only difference, or why it even needs to be called out. If i buy a laptop, I just get a different mains adapter. The kettle lead plugs straight into the amp with the Buttkicker, so the power conversion happens inside the amp itself. Maybe someone with more technical knowledge can explain to me why there’s such a massive price difference.
Where to buy
Finding a reseller in the UK is difficult. The official distributor, networkmusic.biz lists a whole host of reseller websites. Most of those sites don’t work though. You’ll see this list for yourself in the description below. (https://www.networkmusic.biz/~networ26/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=62). The sites that do work, have search features. However, when you search for Buttkicker, they don’t even get a mention. Please take my money Buttkicker!?!?! Luckily for you, I’ve done some homework and I’ve put some product links for different regions in the description below.
How to win one
This is really exciting, especially for those of you who aren’t in a position to buy one right now. You can win one in the next 2 weeks, simply by subscribing to my channel. You do need to ensure that your youtube privacy settings are correct. Your subscriptions must not be private.
Once i pick a winner, I’ll do an announcement video in the coming weeks. Until that video is released, all new subscribers will automatically be in the competition. I’ll also be updating the description of this video with a link to the announcement about the winner.
I’d like to thank Buttkicker for this amazing prize, and for having enough faith in my small, but growing channel, to give me this amazing prize. They’ll ship the Buttkicker directly to you. The one in this video is actually my own one from my rig. You’re will be shiney and new and in the box.
Being able to feel more of what my game is trying to tell me, gives me the confidence that I need in order to be more consistent and ultimately, more in control of the variables in my surroundings in game. Many people who use my rig ask me if the rig was moving, after they get off it. This is solely down to the immersion added by the Buttkicker. Your mind expects something to happen when you drive over a rumble strip. The Buttkicker gamer 2 does a great job of adding this dimension to my racing experience. It’s now a dimension that I don’t want to race without.
If your rig or seat offers a specific buttkicker mount, I’d recommend buying it if you’re buying a gamer 2. Simply because a proper mount can transfer the vibrations through the correct parts of your rig, making it feel like it’s intended. For example, attaching a buttkicker to your monitor would make no sense, so mounting it correctly will make all the difference.
The Gamer 2 is a great consumer offering and is perfect for those of us who don’t like fuss, and just want stuff to work. The package contains all the bits and pieces that you need to get going on PC or console, other than a dedicated sound source, should you wish to use simhub or simvibe.
There are more comprehensive and powerful transducers out there, but if you don’t currently own one or fully understand how it all works, I recommend getting started with the gamer 2.
The product looks tidy and it has more than enough length on the cables to suit most rigs. I’ve linked to the manual in the description below (https://thebuttkicker.com/content/BK-GR2_QSG.pdf) for those of you who want to dive into the technical details of the product.
I hope that this has given you a good insight into this amazing product. If you’ve already subscribed, and your subscriptions are public, drop a comment below and tell me why you want to win this amazing prize!
I’m Laurence, thanks for watching and I will chat you all later.